Deciding to have surgery for obesity is a big step. We can help you:
- Find out if you’re a candidate.
- Find resources for making a decision.
- Get started.
- Find answers to your questions.
What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery is a safe, effective procedure to help you lose weight. It can also improve obesity-related health conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea or high blood pressure. It must be combined with diet and lifestyle changes.
Am I a candidate for bariatric surgery?
Many factors play a role in whether bariatric surgery is an option for you. They include your goals, medical history and readiness to change your lifestyle.
We’ll evaluate anyone for bariatric treatment, even those with serious medical issues. If we can safely perform surgery, we’ll do everything we can to help you reach your goals.
BMI: Body mass index is the starting point. You generally need to be 100 pounds overweight or more to have a BMI high enough for bariatric surgery. You can calculate your BMI with our calculator, then see if you meet other requirements.
Surgery: You may be a candidate for surgery if you:
- Have a BMI higher than 40.
- Have a BMI of 35 or higher with one or more obesity-related condition, such as:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sleep apnea
ORBERA gastric balloon: You may be a candidate for this nonsurgical procedure if your BMI is below 35 and:
- You have obesity issues that bariatric treatment could help.
- You meet the standards for surgery but have a medical condition that could make surgery risky.
Insurance: Your insurance company may have additional requirements for coverage. We will help you seek authorization.
Getting started, step by step
Step 1: Take our free bariatric surgery seminar. The one-hour session, online or in person, covers topics such as surgical options and life after surgery.
Step 2: Complete our Health History form.
Step 3: Call your insurance company to find out what it will cover. Your doctor's opinion that surgery is medically necessary does not guarantee coverage. Learn more about insurance and other payment options.
Step 4: A patient navigator will call to set your first appointment. You do not need a doctor's referral.
Step 5: Meet with a nurse practitioner, who will give you a thorough medical exam and a checklist of next steps.
Step 6: You will have required appointments with a dietitian, a physical therapist and a psychologist. You may need to see other specialists, such as a cardiologist. A patient navigator will arrange these appointments.
Step 7: You will take a two-part class on weight management.
Step 8: Once you've completed the above appointments, you will meet with your surgeon to discuss risks and to ask questions. After this appointment, we will ask your insurance company to authorize surgery. Once the company gives the go-ahead, we will set your surgery date and schedule your anesthesia-risk evaluation and bariatric pre-op class. See Preparing for Bariatric Surgery for details.
Treatment for teens
Obesity can increase the risk that young people will have serious medical, social and psychological issues as adults. Problems can include heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, discrimination and low self-esteem.
OHSU considers obese teenagers for bariatric treatment. We are also developing Oregon’s first clinic to treat teen obesity. We follow American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines, which advise bariatric surgery for teens who:
- Have a BMI higher than 40 and serious obesity-related problems.
- Have failed repeated attempts to lose weight with treatment by a doctor, dietitian or psychologist.
- Have reached or nearly reached physical maturity (usually 13 or older for girls and 15 or older for boys).
- Are committed to comprehensive medical and psychological evaluations before and after surgery.
- Can keep a strict diet after surgery.
- Show the ability to make sound decisions.
- Have a supportive family environment.
To calculate BMI, use the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention BMI calculator for children and teens. It takes growth charts into account for better accuracy.
Parking is free for patients and their visitors.
Center for Health & Healing Building 2
Digestive Health Center, eighth floor
3485 S. Bond Ave.
Portland, OR 97239
Map and directions